Active: Though they are small, they are mighty and active. Munchkins have a moderate to high activity level. They love to play but they also love to be toted around or curled up in your lap.
Size: Small to medium in size, Munchkins can range in weight from 4 - 9 pounds.
Characteristics: While Munchkins are on the smaller side, it is only their short legs that look different from their full-sized feline counterparts. Though their legs are short their body is long and normal in size. They can have either long or short hair, it tends to be thick and dense, and their color and pattern can vary dramatically because all colors and patterns are accepted. As the gene pool continues to grow through outcrossing to keep the gene pool diverse, more and more looks may be introduced for the Munchkin. Shorthair Munchkins tend to have coarse coats and longhair Munchkins tend to have very silky coats.
Temperament: The short legs of the Munchkin cat do not slow them down one bit. They are an incredibly playful, feisty and fun cat breed. These highly intelligent cuties love puzzle toys, learning new tricks, playing games, or play chase. They are curious by nature and love to explore and don't worry, those hind legs do not prevent them from running around, climbing or jumping when being active or playful. Munchkins are very affectionate and social and love to cuddle up with their favorite humans.
Care: Caring for your Munchkin could not be more simple. All they need to keep looking adorable is to be combed once or twice per week depending on their specific coat. Routine nail trimming and ear cleaning as needed is the only other care your Munchkin will need.
Coat: The coat of a Munchkin can be either long or short. Their thick coat, when short, is course and dense and, when long, is soft and smooth.
Origin: There have been many short-legged cats throughout history, with records showing their existence in the 1930s. In the 1940s, Dr. H.E. Williams-Jones, a British veterinarian, documented and noted 4 generations (and possibly more) of cats with very short legs. Many cats of the breed were wiped out during WWII but reports of similar cats persisted throughout the decades all over the world including Stalingrad, New England, and Louisiana. It was not until 1983 that Sandra Hockenedel found a stray cat named Blackberry with the signature short legs that seemed to only exist in tales. Blackberry was pregnant at the time and went on to be the mother of the Munchkin cat breed as we know it today. Sandra Hockenedel gave Toulouse, one of the male kittens in Blackberry's litter, to her friend Kay LaFrance and from there the two bred their short-legged feline friends with other domestic cats to advance the breed's gene pool.
The Munchkin breed began to grow and Hochenedel and LaFrance contacted TICA's genetics committee chairperson, Dr. Solveig Pflueger to examine the breed's genetic makeup and she determined and Dr. Solveig Pflueger determined that the breed's signature short legs were the result of a dominant genetic mutation that affected the long bone of the leg. This genetic mutation is similar to that of Corgis and Dachshunds in the dog world. Breed popularity grew but TICA denied Munchkins recognition due to insufficient information about the breed. This brings us to a controversial part of the Munchkin breed's history because many breeders were upset over this decision. In 1995, TICA granted New Breed and Color status to Munchkins. When TICA made the decision many judges were angered and some even resigned due to ethical concerns that Munchkins are a breed that will be prone to many medical problems such as spinal issues as they age but examinations including X-Rays have not found this to be true. In 2003, TICA granted Munchkins full breed recognition and championship status.